Before Women’s Studies developed beginning in the 1960s-1970s, knowledge of religious traditions was affected by what historian of religions Rita M. Gross termsquadruple androcentrism:•Women’s history is often not recorded (by men). •Women’s history disappears quickly. •Until recently, male scholars did not study women’s history; they focused on men’s history. •Women and men are often ignorant of women’s history, and they are often hostile toward scholarship (and scholars) recovering women’s history.
Rita M. Gross (b. 1943),historian of religions, Buddhist teacher
Gynocentric study of religion•Casts illumination not only on women, but also on the ways that women and men relate to each other in families, societies, and religions. •It illuminates gender roles that have been promoted by religious cultures. •The in-depth study of women and gender in religions and cultures rounds out and makes more complete our understanding of human beings in the cultures and religions that they create.
•History of religions is interdiscipinary and is compatible with the interdisciplinary nature of women and gender studies.•The history of religions seeks to delineate the history of a religious tradition and the people within it, its emergence and sources, influences, changes over time, beliefs and practices, scriptures, artistic and social expressions. Particular attention is paid to what people believetheir ideas and worldviewsalong with accompanying practices, modes of worship, and social organizations. •Theory of Women in Religionsalso draws on anthropology, sociology, archaeology, history, and psychology.•Theory of Women in Religions advocates that particular attention be paid to women’s roles and experiences as well as concepts of gender within the religions.
Two methodological rules of thumb:•Always expect diversity;•There is always more that can be learned to enhance understanding.